Instructions: Begin on all fours. Align wrists under shoulders, and knees under hips. Stretch hands open. Keep your body steady throughout the pose. Extend the right leg and left arm. Slowly reach back with your left hand, and grab your right ankle. Lift the right leg. Look upward. The model in the video is curling her toes under, but you can also do this pose by keeping your feet flat. Balancing is more challenging when you curl the toes under.
Cautions: You can lose your balance if you’re muscles are tight. Reaching back and grabbing the ankle is difficult for many people. Either do the modification, or skip this pose until you’ve developed more flexibility.
Benefits: The Balanced Bow Pose is a backward bend, and therefore strengthens spinal muscles that initiate this type of movement. The backside (gluteus maximus) is strengthened. The abdominals, inner hips and chest are stretched. Core stabilization is required to perform this pose without loss of balance.
Modifications: 1) Instead of your hand, lean on your forearm with your elbow aligned under your shoulder. 2) After grabbing your ankle, don’t lift your leg higher. 3) Look down with your neck long. Variation: Keep both feet flat, instead of curling your toes under.
EXERCISE DOs and DONTs – As with all exercise programs, when using exercise videos that appear on this site, you need to use common sense. If your muscles are weak, either do the modifications, or don’t attempt this exercise if it’s too difficult for you. When starting an exercise program, be sure to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider